Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module LAW42030: Unjust Enrichment

Department: Law

LAW42030: Unjust Enrichment

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.
Tied to M1K116
Tied to M1K616
Tied to M1K316


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an in-depth study of the main components of a claim of unjust enrichment, to consider where unjust enrichment fits on the map of the law of obligations, and to engage with the critics of unjust enrichment


  • The introduction of the module, which is of crucial importance, to an understanding of the modern law, seeks to explore the place of unjust enrichment from a historical perspective. The core of the module which follows focuses on the four questions that need to be answered in order to establish a claim:
  • 1. has the defendant been benefited (i.e. enriched)?
  • 2. was the enrichment at the claimant’s expense?
  • 3. was the enrichment unjust?
  • 4. are there any defences?
  • The second part of the module will continue with the core questions and proceed to consider the relationship between unjust enrichment and other legal categories such as contract. The module will conclude with a discussion of some of the critics of unjust enrichment.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of unjust enrichment, and the way in which it fits within the overall scheme of the law of obligations
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to analyse and evaluate the law in relation to unjust enrichment.
  • Be able to discuss different models of unjust enrichment from a theoretical, historical and critical perspective
Key Skills:
  • be able to demonstrate the ability to research and communicate effectively orally and in writing on aspects of unjust enrichment;
  • to use appropriate web-based materials for conducting research;
  • to analyse and explain complex material;
  • to do all of the above independently.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The teaching will be based on some introductory lectures followed by seminars supported by substantial but targeted prior reading by the students. Seminar teaching will enable the teaching staff to communicate material and ensure that the appropriate level of subject knowledge and skills are being attained, and that problems with key skills can be addressed where necessary.
  • The assessment in the form of two 3000-word essays enables students to demonstrate detailed subject knowledge, to apply subject skills and key skills in relation to a specific legal topic.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 5 Weekly 2 terms 10
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 2 terms 20
Preparation and Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
assessed essay of up to 3,000 words 3,000 words 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
assessed essay of up to 3,000 words 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

The course will incorporate elements of formative assessment, but the methods of assessment may vary from year to year. They may incorporate: written work, either an essay (1500 words) or problems question or individual presentations

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University